Thanks to a High Court ruling, millions of women could be set for a pension boost. Lloyds Bank was told that it had to equalise pension benefits for men and women in what could have huge financial consequences for thousands of companies across the UK. The ruling, made by Mr Justice Morgan could cost Lloyds approximately £150 million and the pension industry as a whole around £20 billion.
The case against Lloyd's was brought by employees Judith Cain, Susan Dixon and Angela Sharp who were backed by their union BTU. They claimed that they faced sex discrimination because their guaranteed minimum pension increased at a lower rate than male colleagues. It's now estimated that about 35,000 Lloyds pension scheme members will receive a minimum refund of £500. Of those, approximately 8000 could receive at least £3,000 over their retirement. The ruling could also see up to five million women in about 5000 private sector schemes benefit from the ruling, with the government estimating the cost of the case at up to £20 billion.
BTU general secretary Mark Brown was delighted at the ruling: "This landmark judgment resolves this pension discrimination issue for good and will bring equality to millions of women across the country."
"It's simply unacceptable that 48 years since the passing of the Equal Pay Act in 1970, we are still fighting for equal treatment in the workplace."
Former pensions minister Steve Webb also welcomed the ruling but warned its implementation could take some time: "It is good news that this ruling finally provides clarity over this contentious issue. Schemes will need urgent help from the government and regulators to know the best way to respond to this judgment."
"Members of company schemes could collectively receive a multi-billion pound windfall, but the complexity of making the necessary calculations means that members will not be receiving cheques any time soon."